Acquittal in Liberty Seven case, Another legal blow to phony ‘War on Terror’

On Dec. 13, the jury in the trial of Lyglenson Lemorin, a Haitian immigrant and one of seven men dubbed the “Liberty City Seven,” came back with an acquittal. The seven were entrapped in Florida by the federal government and paraded as proof and validation of the necessity for the Bush regime’s phony, racist “War on Terror.”

The jury hung on the case of the six other men, who were said to be involved in an al-Qaida-inspired type of attack on the Sears Tower in Chicago.

From the beginning, the Bush regime seized on the arrests of the men on June 22, 2006, and said that the men symbolized “homegrown” threats of terror.

However, there was little evidence and what evidence there was can best be described as smoke and mirrors. The whole case hinged on an FBI agent and a paid informant who did most of the talking. It was very similar to other frame-ups and entrapments, such as that of Derrick Shareef, a young Black man arrested in Chicago in December 2006 (see Workers World, Dec. 21, 2006).

Then Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said in June that the group was a symbol of “smaller, more loosely defined cells who are not affiliated with al-Qaida, but who are inspired by a violent jihadist message.”

A supposed key piece of evidence that the men sought affiliation with the group is a videotaped oath of allegiance to Al-Qaida. The FBI informant who went by the name “Brother Muhammad” claimed to have contact with al-Qaida, and it is this “message” of al-Qaida that the men were tied to. Yet the informant did most of the talking on the FBI recordings.

The men had no weapons and no explosives, this even according to former Attorney General Gonzales. The supposed supplier of the weapons was Brother Muhammad, who promised them $50,000 dollars. Narseal Batiste, one of the Seven, contends the $50,000—which is more than twice the amount of the income per capita for Miami-Dade—was the motivating factor behind the fake plot.

The defense contends that it was either a plot to take the money that was hatched by Batiste or the manipulation and coercion by the FBI that propelled the conspiracy along. Defense Attorney Albert Levin said, “This was all written, directed and produced by the FBI.”

The men, who supposedly followed Batiste, were all poor, Black and from the United States, Haiti or the Dominican Republic. The warehouse where the men slept is in an area with an official poverty rate of 30 percent, one of the poorest areas of the country.

Residents in the community where the men lived said they were quiet and well mannered. Marlene Phanor, the sister of Stanley Phanor, one of the Seven, said, “All they was doing, was trying to do, was clean up the community.”

The only evidence points to a plot made by the federal government and of men whose only crime was made by the U.S.—being Black and poor.

The frame-ups are done to confuse a rising movement in the U.S. and around the world with the myth that the U.S. is under siege, and that the wars and threats of war are defensive maneuvers and to shore up democracy around the world, instead of just imperialist plunder.

The acquittal in the case of Lemorin, who has not been released because of an immigration hold, is a blow to the Bush regime. The 33-year-old had moved to Atlanta months before the arrests and hadn’t even had contact with the group or been to the warehouse in Liberty City.

Perhaps Lemorin’s acquittal portends the result of the retrial of the six remaining men, but their fates cannot be left up to the courts. While there was a rigorous defense of the young men around the country, the anti-war movement as a whole ignored the case.

The defense of the Liberty City Seven needs to be part of a campaign that seeks to squash the racist criminal justice system that entraps majority people of color, and part of a determined anti-imperialist movement that aims to beat back the U.S. ruling class drive for greater profits from which war is an outgrowth. Its cross hairs are aimed at the poor and oppressed around the world.

The Bolivarian Youth in Miami is pushing for a mass protest calling for the freedom of the Liberty City Seven on the day that they will be retried, Jan. 7, 2008. For more information call 786-985-9048.


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